Yesterday – in a change of pace, for him – or maybe the day before, Obama granted clemency to 21 people. He issued commutations – which I think means he reduced their sentences – for eight of them and pardoned 13 more. It is a start.
Two or three days before, according to Wired, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in the District of Columbia declared that NSA’s wholesale collection of data is illegal, saying, I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systemic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval…Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to be aware ‘the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.
Maybe the pendulum is starting to swing back. I can even imagine a country where Edward Snowden is given amnesty because of the public service he did for all of us.